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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Dengue Fever: Signs, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

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Dengue fever is a kind of fever that is caused by viruses that are carried by mosquitoes. Strange isn’t it? Well, you might be wondering what kind of fever is this? This is the purpose of this article.

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Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne illness and it is so called because the virus that causes dengue fever is carried by mosquitoes. This fever is transmitted by the female anopheles mosquito and this mosquitoes that carry it mainly come from the family of Aedes aegypti.

It is a fever that is usually common in the tropical zone as well as the sub-tropical zone. It is a painful fever. It is an acute fever that is caused by one of the four dengue viruses. When a mosquito goes to bite a Person infected with the dengue virus, the mosquito becomes a carrier.

The virus enters into the mosquito and when the carrier mosquito bites an uninfected person, the virus will enter into the blood stream of the uninfected person and hence, the virus will spread through the blood stream.

Remember we said there are four different types of dengue viruses. Once a particular strain of the dengue virus bites you and you recover from that, you become immune to that particular strain, but you won’t be immune to the remaining three strains and then that makes you susceptible to another attack of the dengue fever.

Repeated exposure to the virus that causes dengue fever will cause severe dengue hemorrhagic fever. There are two different types of the dengue fever and they include:

  1. Mild dengue fever: Mild dengue fever will give you the following symptoms; headaches, mild fever, muscle, pain, aching joints, and possibly a rash.
  2. Severe hemorrhagic dengue fever: severe dengue fever causes severe blood and blood plasma hemorrhage, respiratory distress, leaking of fluid from every opening, swollen sweat glands and also pain behind the eyes.

Severe dengue fever can cause severe complications like seizures, brain damage, blood clots within the blood vessels which can become large enough to cut off blood supply, heart attack, stroke and ultimately death.

Dengue fever always affects people who are severely immune compromised as well as infants, young children and the elderly. Those who live in crowded environments when rain falls are also at risk for this disease. This is because during the rainy season, mosquitoes are encouraged to breed.

In a case where there are a lot of overcrowded people and stagnant water, mosquitoes are encouraged to have a breeding ground there and if anyone within that area or community becomes infected, then there is a high risk of people within the community to be infected as well.

In Nigeria, the female albopictus mosquito is usually the carrier of this infection. Normally, the mosquito bites during the daytime and it can pass along the virus from an infected person to an uninfected person within that time.

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Likewise, people who stay and live in the same house with an infected person is also at risk of contracting this disease. Places such as hostels, dormitories, offices, hospitals, factories and even the cinema houses are areas by which one may contact the disease. And the reason isn’t far fetched. It is simply because they are areas which are usually overcrowded.

Dengue fever has an incubation time of 4-10 days before it becomes a full-blown fever which initially presents with flu like symptoms at first. Here are some facts that one needs to make sure to know about dengue disease:

  1. Dengue in itself isn’t a disease that can cause death. But after repeated exposure to the dengue virus, when the individual develops the severe form of the dengue fever, it becomes a deadly disease.
  2. Death can occur from this disease if it is not detected early or if not treated at the early stages of the fever.
  3. There is no specific or specified treatment for the dengue fever. Most people mistake dengue for the flu or for malaria fever, they are two different things as the case may be. Though they may present with the same symptoms but yet, they are two separate diseases.
  4. Only the female mosquitoes are the carriers of this virus. This is because there is a certain percentage level of protein in our blood and the females need this level of protein for the production and storage of their eggs and hence the reason why they feed on our blood unlike the male mosquito.
  5. There are four different strains of the dengue virus. And though you were infected with one and you got treated, you can’t be infected with that same strain again but that doesn’t protect you from the other three strains.
  6. The specific carrier mosquitoes that carry the dengue fever are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes and they usually fly by day and not during the night.
  7. The treatment for dengue is unknown. This means that dengue has no known treatment except that it has a vaccine.
  8. The General systems that will be experienced by a person suffering from dengue includes severe fever, headaches, pain in the back, pain in the joints and in muscles, rashes which are painful, and sore eyes which may be discolored
  9. This disease can be prevented by always keeping one’s environment clean and free from stagnant waters or any breeding sites for mosquitoes most especially during the rainy season.

Likewise, one could spray insecticides to put off mosquitoes and other bugs and keeping them from causing harm to come to you. Also, always Learn to wear protective clothes and garments that can cover the entire body most especially during the rainy season.

Also, for as many that can’t really stay in a room where an insecticide is sprayed, another suggestion is to use mosquito nets to sleep. And for communities that are crowded, it is advisable that they should be adequately educated on how to keep their surrounding clean and free from mosquitoes so as to avoid certain diseases from becoming prevalent in that community.

Dengue Fever
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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Deborah Akinola
Wirter, poet and public speaker
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